He’s been slingin’ gourmet hot dogs and good times across the Gold Coast for the last five years and Paddy Skicko, owner of The Wiener Haus, has no plans to slow down just yet.
He travels with The Wiener Haus, one of the Coast’s original food trucks, from Brisbane to Byron Bay catering at huge events like Splendour in the Grass and, just last year, opened a diner (made from a shipping container) at Stockland Burleigh Heads.
We sat down for a chat with Paddy about watching bride’s smash hotdogs in wedding dresses and what it’s like to spend your days elbow deep in wieners.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve been on the Coast now for just over 10 years. I’m from country Victoria but I spent a lot of time traveling when I was younger. I did back and forth Europe winters for a few years then moved here after a boy’s roadtrip. We had an epic time and I knew I wasn’t going to go back to Europe for awhile so I thought I’d come here and give it a go.
What do you love about living here?
The lifestyle is just so good; we’re so lucky with this end of the Coast. I live in Nobby’s and love being able to go to Burleigh or ride a bike along the Esplanade. Every morning you can go to the beach and nine times out of ten it’s beautiful. I love the fact that I can nip out to the Scenic Rim and go camping too; it’s only half an hour away and reminds me of home.
Tell us how The Wiener Haus came about?
I started having the conversation about five years ago now; with a guy called Jessie I was friends with at the time. I wanted to get out of working as a labourer and I knew I had the skillset to get it done so we decided to go for it. We worked hard and after about six months, Jessie and myself parted ways and Zac came on board to help me with the side of things I’m not good at, like paperwork and invoicing. From there we started getting stadium gigs, then had the second marquee setup happening and now we have the shop, which I always wanted.
Why gourmet hot dogs?
I was originally going to do a café and I was very close to pulling the trigger on a toasted sandwich shop, because I love toasted sandwiches. I honestly just do things I enjoy and I really like hot dogs. Especially our new one, the Caesar, it’s a good combo, I think it’s the best one I’ve ever made.
Why did you decide to open the diner last year?
I wanted to try and make money seven days a week and I wanted to try and work less, in theory. That hasn’t happened at all, I work way more. I’ve worked in hospitality my whole life on and off and as much as I love working around the busy times, it’s hard to maintain a lifestyle that includes other people who don’t do that. The idea was to try and get some sort of normality in my life while still working in hospo. I wanted to have the opportunity to work every day but not have to always work Friday and Saturday night because I was sick of missing out on stuff. That was the plan and it has happened in some ways. Obviously we wanted to get bigger and keep making money but not always have to be on the grill.
What have been some of the best things about owning a food truck?
I’ve done some huge events. We did the Coldplay gig and the Manny Pacquiao fight, that was huge, game three of State of Origin, we did Splendour in the Grass, which was such a good time. Splendour has been a huge thing for us being the only Gold Coast food truck that goes down there and gets amongst it is really cool and we’re really proud of that. Lately we’ve been doing some cool events like the Beer InCider Festival in Brisbane and we’re doing the Crafted Beer and Cider Festival this weekend. We’ve done some rad bar openings where we rolled up and took the Barbie up on the elevator to cook on the rooftop too.
How has your life changed since the WH first began?
My phone rings at any time of the day, any day of the week, that’s been something I’m not that keen on. I do get half days off occasionally and my one day off a week but I think that’s just the way it is as a small business owner.
What are your thoughts on the Coast’s rapidly growing dining scene?
I love that there’s competition and I think it’s important that everyone has the right to have a go. I always try and eat at the small business venues if I can because there’s so many. That’s the problem too though, there’s just so many. The food truck game has gone from just The Wiener Haus and one other, nearly five years ago to now there being well over 100.
What’s the plan for you and The Wiener Haus over the next year?
We’re in an interesting position at the moment and we’re just trying to work it all out. We’ve got plenty of opportunities but I don’t know exactly what we’ll do yet. We obviously want to keep on making epic hotdogs, that’s the most important thing. We’re looking at new menu items but also focusing pretty hard on providing a good catering service, that’s our main thing. The shop is great, I don’t know if we’ll get another one but I do like the idea of more of a bar style hot dog shop but at the same time, I enjoy doing catering so I’d like to push harder in that direction. It’s hilarious to see a bride smash a hotdog in her wedding dress.
Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: Tallebudgera Creek, especially up the creek further on the other side of the bridge. I go kayaking up there and I’m lucky to see anyone, it’s so good.
Café: I go to All Time a lot, really good coffee and Nook is good too.
Restaurant: Goccia in Mermaid is proper Italian food, I’m a big fan.
How does your time off usually look: I’ve got two different time off things that I do and I try and rotate weekly. Definitely getting outdoors is a huge thing for me, I try and go camping at least once a fortnight just to camp and drink beers by a fire. The other thing is Netflix and chill and getting Uber Eats. I think it’s so important to turn off your phone and have that time away.